Since being involved with THA my reading list has been many and varied in and around the broad topic of democracy and the latest book I've just finished was 'On Anarchism' by Noam Chomsky.
Anarchy is the state of a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body. It may also refer to a society or group of people that totally rejects a set hierarchy. The word anarchy was first used in 1539, meaning "an absence of government".
Interestingly Chomsky points out all anarchists are socialists but not all socialists are anarchists!
The trouble for anarchists is that no nation has ever, to the best of my knowledge, been run according to this principle except very briefly in Spain, but then only in some areas, before the communists established their hierarchical controls over them.
Smaller structures like kibbutzes, in Israel especially in the early days, would have passed the test as 'communes' but realistically a nation needs a government.
The BIG issue then is whether the people have any real power over their government and the reality is that over time most, if not all, governments increase their powers and become more isolated from the people they serve.
In Comsky's book I was struck by this passage:-
"New revolutions must dissolve the government altogether or bring it closer to its legitimate institutions...The uprising that ends by strangling or dethroning a sultan is as lawful an act as those by which he disposed, the day before, of the lives and goods of his subject. Force alone maintained him, force alone overthrows him."
It should go without saying, but let me emphasis, that THA is not for strangling anyone or a state of anarchy! What we strongly advocate is peaceful resistance, in line with the thoughts of Gene Sharp, to bring about the reforms to our governance we demand. However, what I do take from the quote above is that it is totally legitimate for a people to take back power from their governments especially when the governments power is being increased, centralised and ultimately abused.
This is the key to THA - to give power back to the people for only by having real power can the people make their politicians their servants and not their masters.